Street food is an essential part of experiencing the country and culture. When it comes to street food, each city has its own specialty. From Bun Cha in Hanoi to Pad Thai in Bangkok, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to eating in the best street food cities in Southeast Asia.
There’s hundreds of regional dishes in the following cities that you simply have to try when in the country. Use common sense and buy from vendors who are cooking things fresh to order and you should be just fine.
Best Cities for Street Food In Southeast Asia
Best street food dish to try: Chow down on the best bowl of Bak Chor Mee (literally minced meat and noodles) at 58 Minced Meat Noodle stall. This is a classic street food dish in Singapore. This family-run stall does the best bowl in the city.
It’s topped with liver, a mix of sliced black mushrooms and chopped canned mushrooms.
2. Bangkok, Thailand
Best street food dish to try: Som tam (papaya salad) is a common street food dish you’ll find all over Thailand and is a must-try in Bangkok. It’s made with green papaya, dried shrimps, peanuts and palm sugar and fish sauce and is very refreshing.
3. Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Best street food dish to try: All bow down to the mighty bánh mì. You’ll see banh mi stalls over the country, serving this simple-yet-delicious sandwich. This is where the French influence comes into play: it’s a soft, fresh baguette, with pate, pork, fresh herbs, pickle carrots and chilli.
4. Hanoi, Vietnam
Best street food dish to try: Barack Obama made bun cha famous when he ate it on Anthony Bourdain‘s TV show. This dish comes from the capital city of Hanoi. It’s a mixed plate of grilled fatty pork (chả) over a plate of white rice noodle (bún) and herbs, with a side dish of dipping sauce. Mix the ingredients together as you please!
5. Manila, Philippines
Best street food dish to try: Also popular as a main dish in local restaurants, Lechon is a rotisserie-style chicken that will have you licking your fingers to get every last taste. The chicken is stuffed with lemongrass, rubbed in a marinade of soy sauce, sugar, and calamansi, before being slow roasted until golden brown and crispy.
6. Siem Reap, Cambodia
Best street food dish to try: One of the famous street foods in Siem Reap is deep fried bread with shrimp. You’ll see vendors cooking these delicious bites at every corner of the market. The fresh French-style bread soaks up all the flavour of the shrimp as it fries, leaving you with a tasty and crunchy bite.
7. Yangon, Myanmar
Best street food dish to try: Mohingo tangy fish stew is basically the unofficial national dish of Myanmar! It’s a fish broth with lemongrass, turmeric and pepper, which swirl around thin glass noodles. The fish itself is usually catfish, in a paste. Chickpea fritters, lime, eggs, shallots, and chili are optional.